Lions taking it easy with Ziggy Ansah as contract deadline looms

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — With the offseason program in full swing, the Detroit Lions aren’t pushing the pace with defensive end Ziggy Ansah.

Ansah has battled a number of injuries the past two seasons. A high-ankle sprain sapped his effectiveness in 2016, when he finished with a career-low 2.0 sacks. Last season, he spent training camp on the physically unable to perform list and labored through knee, back and ankle injuries during the season. He still managed to finish with 12.0 sacks in 14 games after a late-season surge that included three in each of the team’s final two contests.

Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah (94) finished with 12 sacks last season, including six in the final two games.

“He’s another guy that we’re just training,and taking along, to where we think whatever he can do from that standpoint,” head coach Matt Patricia said. “So, it’s nothing real specific.”

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A free agent this offseason, the Lions applied the franchise tag to Ansah, a $17.1 million contract for the 2018 season. The team’s brass has repeatedly praised his talent and importance to the defense, but have declined to comment on the possibility of getting a long-term extension done before the July 16 deadline.

During Tuesday’s minicamp practice, Ansah was a limited participant in practice. Asked if signing with Detroit long-term was still on the table, he danced around the question.

“You all we be the first to know if anything happens.”

Ansah still is actively learning the playbook. During the team portions of practice, he’s often popping into the huddle for the play call before drifting back to the sideline.

“It’s a huge playbook; (we’re learning) something new every single day,” he said.

As for the evolution of his role in the multiple front the team is installing this offseason, Ansah is anticipating he’ll be moving around quite a bit.

“We keep adding plays, each and every day,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not going to be playing just one position. I will be floating around.”